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Fethullah Gülen's interview in Egypt and Indonesian media outlets

by fgulen.com on . Posted in News

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1. President Erdogan and his followers accuse you of a double face: a gentle religious teacher but also a terrorist. They accuse you of leading the Gulenist Terror Organization, are you? How do you feel about Erdogan being the main enemy?

President Erdogan, former President Abdullah Gul, AKP ministers and MPs have praised the institutions and service projects of Hizmet movement numerous times up until the end of 2013. They changed their language after a corruption probe in December 2013 that investigated members of Erdogan’s cabinet. Instead of letting the judiciary do its job they decided to shut down the investigation and bring the judiciary under political control. As late as May 2013 then Prime Minister Erdogan was describing a chance to meet with me a gift from heaven. The people of Hizmet and what they have been doing have not changed. They have been setting up schools, providing scholarships, bringing quality healthcare and humanitarian relief to people for over 50 years. It is President Erdogan who has changed. So, this question should be asked to him. Why did you decide to label this peaceful movement with such slanderous labels after observing them, working with them and praising them for nearly twenty years?

I and my friends have never considered Erdogan an enemy. We continue to pray that he realizes his mistakes and return to the democratic path that he help start when they came to power and apologize for all the harm he caused to tens of thousands of innocent people.

I should also add that for a period Erdogan government accused us of being against the peace process and later on they accused us of collaborating with the PKK. So they have contradicted themselves in their accusations.

2. You've been accused of being behind a failed coup against Erdogan on July 15 last year. Who is really responsible for the coup?

I have condemned the coup attempt on that very night and denied any involvement. But President Erdogan, without any investigation, began accusing me. This is wrong both from an Islamic perspective and from the perspective of universal principles of justice. How can you accuse someone with a gross crime without any investigation?

I am not in a position to claim that this or that person or group staged that attempt. But observers and commentators are suggesting that a group of ultranationalist commanders might have organized something that gave the appearance of a coup but was not a real coup. It was designed to help purge the military of people allegedly sympathetic to me, and in the process diminish the credibility of the military in the eyes of the public and help Erdogan strengthen his hand over the military. I think this explanation makes more sense than other theories. But again, I seek refuge from God from accusing anybody without clear evidence. I invited Erdogan to allow for an international investigation
into the event and I pledged that if they found me guilty I would buy my own ticket and return to Turkey. But he did not respond to my challenge.

3. How would you rate Erdogan's leadership? Can you specify, is he a corrupt, despot, bigot or tyrant?

Legal experts discussed Erdogan’s eligibility to serve as president because of questions about his college education. Other have questioned the fairness of elections and allegations of election fraud. These considerations aside if Turkish people elect a shepherd as their leader, I respect their choice. But personally I don't see Erdogan qualified to serve as president.

With regard to allegations of corruption, if Erdogan allowed the corruption probe of December 2013 to proceed, we could have learned the truth. But unfortunately they shut down that investigation and brought the judiciary under their political control. As long as the judiciary remains this way it will be impossible to know. With regard to authoritarianism, observers from around the world are unanimous. Since his third election victory in 2011 he became more and more authoritarian. He is going in the path of worst autocratic leaders in world history.

4. What should the Turkish people do to Erdogan more than just pray? You are calling for him to be prosecuted through international law? How to do it? Who deserves to lead the resistance?

Unfortunately there have not been enough brave people to say enough is enough. A few people who did are in jails. Opposition parties have done a miserable job of using democratic means available to stop Erdogan abusing his power and defending innocent people’s constitutional rights against Erdogan’s persecution. Some in the opposition behaved very pragmatically, but in a shortsighted way, allowing the oppression to continue as long as it did not touch them or it targeted the groups that they didn't like. They did not think that it would target them at some point. Turkish people have many democratic and peaceful means to express their frustration with Erdogan’s oppression. It is a matter of his oppression touching enough lives to cause an outcry. As far as praying is concerned, it is our duty to pray to God Almighty not as a matter of the circumstances. We will continue to do that and encourage everybody to do the same. But fulfilling the causes is also part of respecting God’s laws in the universe.

5. Many Turkish demonstrators protesting in front of the White House demand that you be extradited from the United States. Who sponsors their movements? To what extent does the US government provide protection for your safety?

The majority of Turkish Americans are against Erdogan government. In the recent elections where Turkish citizens could vote, the opposition parties received majority of the votes here in the U.S. There are people and organizations in the US that work closely with AKP. It is highly possible that they were supported by Turkish government. I have been living in the U.S. for almost two decades. The U.S. government ensures the security of all of its citizens, residents and visitors regardless. I assume that the law enforcements are following the Erdogan’s government’s attempts to abduct or kidnap people affiliated with Hizmet around the world. I am sure the local authorities here have been on alert for possible threats and they are knowledgeable about what we are facing. They have electronic and other surveillance measures to detect threats. Local law enforcement has been vigilant when demonstrators appeared near this retreat center.

6. How long do you become an exile and live in Pennsylvania? Do you still want to go back to Turkey?

I miss my homeland and I wish to be able to go back and visit the place I love. But I don’t want my visit to cause any troubles and I can’t go back as long as this government is in power.

7. You've been accused of being behind a failed coup against Erdogan on July 15 last year. Who is really responsible for the coup?

I have condemned the coup attempt on that very night and denied any involvement. But President Erdogan, without any investigation, began accusing me. This is wrong both from an Islamic perspective and from the perspective of universal principles of justice. How can you accuse someone with a gross crime without any investigation?

I am not in a position to claim that this or that person or group staged that attempt. But observers and commentators are suggesting that a group of ultranationalist commanders might have organized something that gave the appearance of a coup but was not a real coup. It was designed to help purge the military of people allegedly sympathetic to me, and in the process diminish the credibility of the military in the eyes of the public and help Erdogan strengthen his hand over the military. I think this explanation makes more sense than other theories. But again, I seek refuge from God from accusing anybody without clear evidence. I invited Erdogan to allow for an international investigation into the event and I pledged that if they found me guilty I would buy my own ticket and return to
Turkey. But he did not respond to my challenge.